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RATINGS: 1962   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.53   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 165   ABV: 5.5%
This is our special ale from the brewers at Anchor. It is sold only from early November to mid-January. The Ale’s recipe is different every year, but the intent with which we offer it remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life. Since ancient times, trees have symbolized the winter solstice when the earth, with its seasons appears born anew.

Editor’s Note: due to the significant similarity in style and strength from year to year (despite potential differences in the exact spice blend), this beer is no longer separated by vintage.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Rune (9500) - Tromsø, NORWAY - DEC 20, 2006
355ml bottle, vintage 2005, bought at Ølbutikken in Copenhagen a year ago. I suppose one year aging in the cellar has enhanced the flavour. Pours a yellow-brownish head over a deep, rusty brown body. The smell is rather weak but dark fruit offset by vanilla can be detected. Rich and complex taste of aniseed, dark malty sweetness, black coffee and spicies (a pepper note). The beer finishes off with crisply bitterness. Medium palate (20.12.2006).

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
pivnizub (9480) - Bochum, Porúří, GERMANY - MAY 6, 2009
Bottle (vintage 2007): Deep ruby amber coloured, a bit hazy, small off-white foamy layer; christmas spices, coriander toasted malt and dried fruits in the nose; moderate to solid - relatively dry - bitter-sweet flavour, medium bodied; dry bitter finish, rounded by some toasted malt and spices. Pleasant, well rounded stuff.............

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
GT2 (9410) - Oceanside, California, USA - DEC 5, 2009
12oz. Pours a cloudy deep red with a one finger dark tan head that has little retention and lacing. Aroma is spice, toffee, apple cider, nutmeg, cinnamon. Taste is spicy, watery, spruce, huge medicinal feel. Lots of cough syrup, Sudafed, Nyquil. Pretty light bodied but syrupy mouthfeel. Sort of gross. I’m surprised that a brewery with as much to live up to as Anchor would actually produce something this bad every year.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
shrubber85 (9261) - Greenville, Indiana, USA - DEC 29, 2014
Bottle. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and caramel malt aroma. Brown with small head. Sweet nutmeg, cinnamon, and creamy caramel malt flavor. Very pleasant.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
JoeMcPhee (9004) - Toronto, ON, Ontario, CANADA - NOV 28, 2005
UPDATED: JAN 20, 2010 2009 bottle. Deep dark brown beer with a very thick sticky pour. Good looking beer. The nose is great. A bright nose of light evergreen resin, a bit of cinnamon, fruity pine and a touch of molasses and dark malts. A kiss of toasted character. Pretty nice rich brew. There is a little bit of rye spice and a kiss of light herbal hoppiness as well. It’s pretty solid. 2008 bottle. Deep dark brown beer with a nice sticky tan head. The nose is quite spicy. A bit of cocoa and soft pine. Cinnamon and nutmeg as well as a bit of light fruitiness. Dusty cocoa and a bit of herbal character. Some light mintiness and a touch of chewy sweetness. Molasses and a bit of toastiness. Some rye and wheaty spice. As it warms the spruce and juniper picks up. Lovely toastiness and a bit of soft spice. It’s lovely. 8 5 8 5 17 2006 bottle. Dark brown/ruby tinted beer with a thick tan head. Aroma is of dark toasted malts, sweet breadiness with loads of fresh ginger and bright fresh cinnamon. There is also a lot of pine/spruce aroma that comes to the fore as the beer warms up. Flavour is malty sweet, toast and whole wheat spiciness, cinnamon and nutneg and ginger. Soft chocolatey malt notes behind the sweet spices as well. Lingering pine flavour and earthy/herbal bitterness. Smells and tastes like Christmas, which I gather was the point. I like this years better than 2005s version. 8 5 8 5 16 2005 bottle. Beautiful deep brown/ruby beer with a thich long-lasting brown head. Sweet caramelly aroma, a bit of toastiness, assertive licorice and even a touch of smokiness. Flavour is quite spicy aroma, bready sweet pudding-like malt and spice backgroung. Cinnamon, nutmeg, caramel with a long sweet and brown sugary finish. Dark cherries and black pepper on the back of the palate as well. Ar 7 Ap 5 Fl 7 Pa 3 Ov 15

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
leaparsons (8975) - Leicester, Leicestershire, ENGLAND - OCT 29, 2006
Bottle. Swan and Rushes, Leicester. Black with a small beige head. Aromas are herbal and spicy with root vegetables and liquorice. Some dark chocolate bitterness. Flavours are herbal, medicinal and berruy fruit with bitter dark chocolate and spices. Earthy and smoky with a long aftertaste. I could still taste this on the palate after a half hour walk home. Very good.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20
gnoff (8929) - Mölndal, SWEDEN - NOV 6, 2006
UPDATED: FEB 2, 2014 First rating
Initial Rating Date: 11/6/2006
330 ml bottle at Haket, Göteborg.
2006 Christmas ale.
Ruby red color, tan head. Spicy clove scent. Taste is clove and lots of spicy malts. Low bitterness.

Second rating
UPDATED 11/19/2006
Vinous a bit minty, strong sugary smell. Deep ruby red color, tan head. A bit fruity taste, thin and boring, vinous. No bitterness. Just plain too boring.

On tap as part of a flight at Brewer’s Tasting Room, St. Pete, FL, on January 22, 2014.
Clear very dark red color, light brown head. Sweet, spicy taste. Tart, dry aftertaste. Thin mouthfeel, low bitterness. Sweet scent, a bit spicy.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
rosenbergh (8864) - Tampere, FINLAND - NOV 26, 2010
355 ml bottle. 2010. Finland.
Dark reddish brown colour with small creamy tan head. Roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, toffee and hops in quite tempting aroma. Flavour is a dab more harsh with darkish hops, roasted malt, chocolate, spices and coffee. Rather wintery.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 12/20
DrSilverworm (8861) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - MAR 27, 2011
2010 version. Smells great, definitely a pine smell in it that’s appropriate for the season, maybe even some roasted nut smells. Appears to be a very dark brown color when poured, but when shining a light through the glass the beautiful red color becomes very apparent. Stickier texture than I prefer, lively carbonation though. Sort of an odd vegetable-ish after taste, but it’s certainly interesting and not too strong.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
MoritzF (8860) - Ottobrunn, GERMANY - MAY 30, 2006
(bottle, vintage 2005, with many thanks to bierkoning !) Dark brown colour with a stable tanned mid-sized foam. Moderately sweet and slightly roasted malt aroma with a floral note of violets, toffee, liquorice and cinnamon. Bittersweet flavour, medium body, moderate carbonation. Roasty malty taste with liquorice, violets and citrus peel; dry, malty and spicy finish with a lasting aftertaste with chocolate and spices. Complex and tasty brew.

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